Background & Legal Status
The Clinical Legal Education Organisation ('CLEO') held its inaugural meeting in about 1995 – some say earlier! For many years, it was an informal alliance that promoted and supported the growth of pro bono legal advice clinics in UK law schools.
It has only been in relatively recent times that law schools have shown a distinct commitment to CLEO’s model of public service and legal education. The reasons for this are complex but include the changing nature of legal services provision, the cutbacks in public funding of legal services (legal aid), and the importance of employability to law students.
A survey of UK law schools suggests that 73% of institutions now have pro bono and clinical initiatives. More than a quarter of these include a clinic as an integrated part of the curriculum, demonstrating that clinical activity is becoming embedded in mainstream legal education.
CLEO operated as an unincorporated entity for many years, organising workshops and training events for those involved in, or wanting to set up, pro bono clinics. At its conference in November 2013 a decision was taken to formally constitute the organisation with a view to better representing its members and making a more structured contribution to national debates on legal services and educational provision.
Consequently, CLEO is now a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) registered with the Charity Commission (number 1161457).
Currently CLEO has a membership of over 250 academic staff from over 80 institutions.
Further details regarding the formal organisation of the charity and terms and conditions regarding membership and trustee duties can be found in the organisation's constitution. The constitution is available to all registered members. A copy is available in the resources section of the site.